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FSA LogoThe Luxury Hotel Insider: Exclusive luxury hotel deals, features and special rates from the luxury hotel experts at Five Star Alliance. 
Named one of Tripbase's Best Luxury Travel Blogs for 2011, below are Five Star Alliance's newest articles featuring exclusive information on luxury hotels worldwide including special offers and deals at the world's best hotels.

Italy is the Top Vacation Pick for Americans?

August 29, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Grand Hotel Vesuvio, Naples, ItalyWhere are Americans lusting to travel to right now? According to a recent poll by Harris Interactive, Italy is the top choice for vacations. When 2,183 American adults were surveyed about their top pick for travel outside of the U.S. (irrespective of cost), the No. 1 pick, for the second year in a row, was Italy. The poll results are not new; Italy has been a top pick for Americans for some time - it has ranked as either the first or second choice for the past 8 years in The Harris Poll. Coming in No. 2: Great Britain, followed by Australia in 3rd place. Rounding out this year's top 5 are Ireland (4) and France (5).

Pictured: The Grand Hotel Vesuvio in Naples.

The Buzz in Baltimore: Four Seasons Hotel to Open in November

August 26, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Four Seasons Baltimore

There's a new hotel on the block in Baltimore. Four Seasons is building a temple to luxury on the water in Harbor East, "the city's hippest new district" (to quote the hotel's official website). Billed as a "chic, five-star, resort-like getaway," the new urban retreat is now accepting reservations starting November 20, 2011. There will be a spa to be sure (this is Four Seasons we're talking about), and a restaurant by chef Michael Mina called Wit and Wisdom, a Tavern. Forget what you see on "The Wire" (the HBO hit); Balty's getting a makeover! The city was ranked by Forbes as America's third best shopping destination in 2010.

Kate Winslet Saves Richard Branson's Mom from Fire at Necker Island

August 23, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Necker IslandHurricane Irene is sweeping across the Caribbean, heading straight towards the Southeast United States, leaving lots of damage in its wake. Even Sir Richard Branson's Necker Island-- a favorite private island retreat for celebrities-- has not escaped the storm's wrath. The resort's 14-bedroom "Great House" caught fire from a lightning storm caused by the hurricane. Kate Winslet, who was staying in the house with her children, reportedly rescued the British magnate's 90 year old mom from the fire. Branson explained: "She said it's like being in a film set where you're waiting for the words 'cut' but they just don't come. So it was quite surreal for her to be in a real-life situation." Located in the British Virgin Islands, Necker Island was the setting for the 2010 Victoria's Secret Catalogue shoot and is a playground for royalty and Hollywood stars. (Google's co-founder Larry Page was married there in 2007.) Branson is planning to rebuild the house ASAP.

Trends in Travel: Marco Island Resort Rewards Guests for Voluntourism

August 22, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Marco Island Beach ResortThe latest hotel to give travelers discounts to reward them for voluntourism work? Florida's Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort which recently launched Give & Get-- meaning 15% savings when guests use a portion of their hard-earned vacation time helping others. Available through September 30, 2011, the program features diverse volunteer opportunities: coastal clean-up with Friends of Rookery Bay, building homes with Habitat for Humanity, volunteering with the YMCA, or helping out at Marco Island’s first public high school.

Related Articles:

Voluntourism Means Hotel Discounts at Four Seasons Austin

Voluntourism in the Everglades with Mandarin Oriental Miami

Culinary “Voluntourism” at the Windsor Court Hotel, New Orleans

Travel Trends: Voluntourism, and Give-Back Getaways with Ritz-Carlton Hotels

The Peninsula Bangkok's New Fleet of BMW Luxury Limos

August 17, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Peninsula BangkokWhether you need a lift from the airport or a spin around town, The Peninsula Bangkok can chauffeur you around the Thai capital in style. The landmark luxury hotel recently unveiled a brand new fleet of nine BMW 730Ld luxury cars to be used as hotel limousines. Finished in signature Peninsula Green, these magnificent cars offer the ultimate in air-conditioned luxury. The in-line six 3.0-litre advanced diesel engine and electronic six-speed automatic gearbox makes for a silky smooth drive. What a way to beat the heat!

The arrival of these new cars reinforces The Peninsula Hotels Group's existing relationship with the German automaker. The Peninsula Shanghai has six BMW 7 Series long wheelbase cars, while two MINI Cooper S Clubman vehicles are popular transportation options at The Peninsula in Hong Kong, Tokyo, New York and Chicago.

Opening Soon: Dorchester Collection's 45 Park Lane in London

August 17, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

45 Park Lane, LondonIn just a matter of days, a new luxury hotel will be making waves in London town. The Dorchester Collection's newest property, 45 Park Lane, is just a stone's throw from the hotel flagship, overlooking Hyde Park in Mayfair. In perhaps the biggest news of all, 45 Park Lane will be home to Wolfgang Puck's first restaurant in Europe: CUT, a modern American steak house. Acclaimed architect Thierry Despont was behind the renovation. There are 45 guest rooms, all with views of Hyde Park, plus a Penthouse Suite with sweeping views of London from a wraparound terrace. Hot rates: From September 1- 11, 2011, guests can take advantage of an introductory rate of £350 (approximately $567 USD). Wifi is included.

Luxury Hotel Buzz: Park Hyatt Vienna Announced for 2013

August 8, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Park Hyatt ViennaHot on the heels of the Sofitel Vienna Stephansdom, the striking new hotel designed by Pritzker prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel, the Hyatt Hotels Corporation has announced a new luxury property for the Austrian capital. Slated for 2013, the 143-room hotel will be housed in a historic building on Am Hof, one of the largest squares in the UNESCO-listed First District. Architects Neumann & Partners will be converting the former bank into a luxury hotel, while FG Stijl is orchestrating the interior design. The Park Hyatt Vienna will have a restaurant, bar, cigar lounge, fitness center, spa, and conference facilities. When it opens, the Park Hyatt Vienna will become the seventh Park Hyatt hotel in Europe and the first Hyatt-branded hotel in Austria.

Hayman Island Resort Celebrates Reopening with Special Offer

August 5, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hayman Island ResortAustralia's Hayman Island-- oft described as one of the most stunning resorts in the world-- was severely damaged by cyclones earlier this year, and had to close for repairs. Now it's back, and better than ever. The five-month renovation, explains The Sydney Morning Herald, "touched almost every aspect of the Great Barrier Reef resort, starting with a 16-hectare garden landscape created by horticulturalist and TV star Jamie Durie." A new botanical garden centerpiece showcases 33,000 new plants and 327 new species; the landscaping alone cost A$4 million.

Hayman Island ResortLucky guests who check in now will experience a top-to-bottom refurbishment. And when you book the "Hayman Reopening Offer," you'll score an A$400 Resort Voucher to enjoy during your stay. This reopening offer is basically the "Hayman Escape" package which includes twin share accommodation and daily beachfront breakfast at Azure, along with the bonus resort voucher. Hayman Escape packages start from A$885 per person for 3 nights, and are available for sale until August 31, 2011 for travel from October 1, 2011- June 30, 2012. Valid for new bookings only, and subject to availability.

Win a Free Night's Stay with Langham's "Linger Longer" Campaign

August 4, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Langham Huntington Hotel, PasadenaBack in May, the Langham Hospitality Group launched a special offer called "Linger Longer for Less." Available through August 31, 2011 at Langham hotels worldwide (including Pasadena, Melbourne, Hong Kong, Shanghai), the promotion translates to real savings: stay two nights and get 10% off, stay three nights and save at least 15 percent with complimentary breakfast, linger four nights and save at least 20 percent with free breakfast and internet access. If you stay five nights, you'll get even more benefits: room upgrade included!

As part of this "Linger Longer" campaign, Langham recently announced a global social media campaign on Facebook, Twitter and Weibo to search for top travel tips in key Langham cities. The prize? A free night's stay. To enter the contest, simply answer the question “If I could linger longer in a city with a Langham hotel, what would I do?” and email it with a photo (optional) to The most popular answer based on the most likes, comments and shares will win a free night’s stay in the Langham of the nominated city.

For more information, head over to Langham's Facebook page.

The U.K.'s Largest Spa is Now Open at The Corinthia London

August 4, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

ESPA Life at Corinthia, LondonThe Corinthia Hotel's launch in London has not been a quiet affair. Over-the-top in every way imaginable, the opulent new hotel opened a spa in July that's been the talk of the town. The latest spa by industry leader Sue Harmsworth MBE, the ESPA Life at Corinthia is the largest spa in the U.K.- measuring over 37,000 square feet and covering four levels. It's also the worldwide flagship for ESPA, and the first location to offer the brand’s new ESPA Life concept, an integrated wellness approach that incorporates complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) into a luxury spa environment. There's an entire floor devoted to thermal and wet areas including an indoor pool, black mosaic steam rooms, and an amphitheater sauna. Treatments include new age-defying facials and a ‘Rush Hour Beauty’ menu.